Does Weight Influence Survival of Colorectal Patients?

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A new study presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology World Congress on Gastrointestinal Cancer recently reported that colorectal patients with a low to healthy body weight lived an average of two and a half months less than overweight and obese patients. This is contrary to what was expected because being overweight with a high body index has been associated with a higher risk for colorectal cancer.  Researchers said “Contrary to our hypothesis, patients who had the lowest BMI were at risk for having the shortest survival.” “In this case, patients with the lowest body weight-people who had metastatic colon cancer and a BMI of less than 25–were at the highest risk.” Subjects included over 6,100 patients who had previously been untreated for their metastatic colorectal cancer and who had been  included in 4 different registry studies in the USA and Europe. All received bevacizumab with chemotherapy in their treatment. Bevacizumab or Avastin, is used in patients with metastatic cancer to slow the growth of new blood vessels. Subjects were divided into 4 BMI range groups amd measured overall survival rates and the length of time their tumors stopped growing.  Those with the lowest BMI from 20 to 24.9 that would be considered a healthy weight survived an average of 21.1 months after starting treatment. Subjects with a BMI of 25 to 29, considered overweight, survived an average od 23.5 months; those with BMI of 30 to 35 survived an average of 24 months;  and those with BMIs of 35.1 and higher survived an average of 23.7 months after starting treatment.  Researchers said the study does not indicate that being overweight is in any way protective for patients undergoing cancer treatment but instead, there could be an aspect of biology that could put thinner people at a higher risk for poor outcomes.

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